Yes, actually witnessing or even experiencing
the Holy Spirit in church.
Within the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement.
For iron-clad belief in God!
As soon as Jesus was baptised,
he went up out of the water.
At that moment heaven was opened,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending
like a dove and lighting on him.
And a voice from heaven said,
“This is my Son, whom I love;
with him I am well pleased.”
Now, even this article’s heading, and the description of contents at the top of this page, may ‘rattle’ some readers. And I admit that I had trouble with it in my early days as a churchgoing Christian, let alone when I was an atheist.
I had seen this church stuff on TV, supposedly empowered by the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of God). You know, when people collapse onto the floor after being touched by a preacher. Even as a Christian, I just guessed it was some hysteria sort of thing. In other words, maybe people were being emotionally overwhelmed to the point of collapse. And stuff going on, like miraculous healing and other ‘gifts of the Spirit’ such as prophecies … mmmm … I had trouble believing any of that was genuine too!
(I am from a senior auditing background and the majority of my advisory team are Christian clergy. To glimpse the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
My knowledge of Christianity was growing at that time. I had probably been a practising Christian for a couple of years. And my belief in God was shaping up. I did wonder though from time to time whether that stuff going on, in what I termed the “wild side of Christianity”, just could be for real? Well….
2. ENTERING THE MOVEMENT
Usually open-minded, and always inquisitive, I decided to go to some of those relevant services. I had taken time out from my own traditional/ mainline Protestant fellowship of faith to visit some Pentecostal churches recommended to me by a work colleague. Well, I was faced with stuff that, if it was real, took me back to what I had read in the Bible about first century spiritual events in the early Christian Church. Yes, I am referring to details from the Bible here.
AND, me being me, Mr Analytical, I knew I had to check it out properly. If all the events were indeed the ‘real deal’, then I had to get in touch with them. Yes, I wanted to actually experience the Holy Spirit in action, if at all possible.
I was not disappointed. I came to actually witness events, relative to the Spirit, that were clearly genuine. And they set off a chain reaction of questions in my mind. Plus, I can write with total confidence, that ‘falling over’ stuff is not caused by hysteria. I found ‘clear’ evidence (please read, “Is this Spirit stuff real”) along the way that absolutely ruled that out.
Shortly after that first exposure, and we are talking about 28 years ago, my own Protestant church offered a multi week course, that finished with a so-called “anointing of the Spirit”. There was a plan for our church to actually enter the ‘Charismatic’ movement. Talk about the timing being right!
Yes, my wife and I were on the receiving end of a number of different kinds of ‘gifts of the Spirit’ spread over a period of many years, I guess. Details are included in other articles in this website section (explained later).
3. WHAT IS IT?
Now, my own brain wiring ensures that I can only accept what knowledge, experience and reason bears out. I am not a dreamer. I am a thinker! My private life and past career testifies to that. (Again, please click here for the who’s, how’s and why’s of this website.)
And even so, I have long been totally confident that these events occurring in the movement can only be spiritually based! As such, I mean that I cannot even imagine any other cause. And boy have I tried hard to look for one! Faith that cannot stand up to constant challenge is not much use to anyone after all.
Bear in mind that all of this stuff is still happening there in the movement, courtesy of the Holy Spirit, for anyone to check it out.
4. HOW AND WHEN DID IT START?
But, when and where did it all this ‘wild stuff’ begin in the modern Christian church? (I mean the Bible certainly made it clear that it was commonplace in the early Christian Church.)
Well, it ‘kind of’ started in a big way during 1905 in a derelict building at the address 312 Azusa Street, Los Angeles, California in the USA. That was in fact the location and birth year of the Pentecostal church. But some sources state that it had all really begun in Wales, as a result of a ‘spiritual’ revival there, and then moved across the Atlantic to the USA.
But, as indicated above, it ‘erupted’, no doubt courtesy of the Lord, in LA. It went on to spread from Azusa Street, so successfully out through the world thanks to the growth of the Pentecostal church.
And of course its essence was absorbed later by those mainline/ traditional churches that opened themselves to it. That in turn began during the 1960s, and is now known as the Charismatic movement.
As such, I personally do not believe the creation of the movement was any accident. Think about it! My understanding is that there are now more than 500 million Christians in the world-wide Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement. And it is still growing rapidly.
5. ANOINTING OF THE SPIRIT
Firstly then, let us look at ‘anointing’ and the ‘falling over’ stuff that it led to. I often use the term, “touched by the Spirit” in this website as an alternative to ‘anointing’.
Essentially the effect, and result of being anointed by the Spirit, is to a large degree passed on through baptised Christians, who themselves have already been touched in the past. That is they pass it on, empowered by the Spirit, to other baptised Christians who have not been touched/ anointed previously.
So the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement mainly revolves around this chain reaction of blessing/ touching, empowered by the Holy Spirit. And bear in mind that not everyone touched does actually fall over. No, the effects of touching are all worked out by the Spirit, as far as individuals are concerned. Mind you, all people touched by the Spirit in this way will definitely know that it has happened. That is they will have an ‘experience’ that makes it clear to them. And some people will have a more powerful experience than others.
If the experience is powerful, then it is likely that the receiving Christian will be so affected they will fall down. In some churches, while members of the fellowship are being anointed, other members will place themselves to catch them if they do fall. But in other churches, catchers are not used. The idea is that using catchers may encourage faking. And … sadly … yes, I can personally vouch for that! You can also read all about it in the previously mentioned article, “Is this Spirit stuff real”.
As far as Mr Analytical (i.e. me) is concerned, being touched is an incredible event to experience. And that is especially so when receiving it for the first time. But is it real? Well, yet again, click that link above.
6. GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
As incredible as being touched by the Holy Spirit is concerned, and as belief and faith building as it is, it can lead to even more amazing events and experiences. I am referring to the manifestation of the ‘gifts of the Spirit’ here. You see, it is not unusual for the Spirit to bless those being ‘touched’ with the ability to perform unexplainable and physically impossible deeds. Yes, that may look like a crazy statement, but just trust me for now. These so-called gifts are detailed in the Bible, see 1 Corinthians 12.
Some of the gifts included are:
And look, if you are anything like I was when I first read about those ‘gifts’ … well, you are probably shaking your head right now. But, I am totally confident that it is all real. Yes, and I am sure if it can convince me, then it can convince anyone. That is if they expose themselves to it.
All of the above gifts are discussed individually under the sub-heading, “Gifts of the Spirit” in the Menu Bar above, in this section of the website. Please bear with me AND read those following articles about ‘gifts.’ I hope the possibilities/ probabilities will become obvious to you as a result.
7. THEY DO HAVE A PURPOSE!
Yes, these things actually do happen. Really!
This stuff – these ‘gifts of the Spirit’ being applied, or even the sensation of just being ‘anointed’ by the Spirit – can be so incredible to witness and even more so to experience. Again from my point of view, it can occasionally take us even beyond the boundaries of our imagination as to what might be possible at all.
But please understand that these gifts, as they are manifested before us, are not to be understood as the ‘be-all and end-all’. As dramatic as they can be, they are to be ‘grasped in perspective‘. The Holy Spirit offers them to us so as to fuel our relationship with him, our Lord. They certainly encourage us to move all the more rapidly into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. Yes, to seriously engage with God, as he desires of each and everyone of us.
Maybe you won’t see, let us say, powerful healing miracles at the very first Pentecostal/ Charismatic service you attend. But none-the-less, attendance there should at least give you regular exposure to events, that are clearly not logically explainable. I am writing about supernatural events that, as suggested above, were treated as matter of fact in the early Church and recorded in the Bible as such.
Briefly, these events are available to be either witnessed or experienced by us in the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement of the greater Church. The differing types of fellowships of faith, available for us to attend, and what types of services they offer, are offered in the article, “Choosing a church”.
I accept that many readers, particularly ‘thinkers’ like me, will find all this ‘difficult to swallow’. It is ultimately up to each of us to take a ‘brave pill’ and attend these services for ourselves.
And all I can say here, at this point, is wait until you face these experiences. If you are open and ready, and you do attend these types of services, then you will more than likely receive solid evidence of God’s presence there.
Better still, if you choose to become a baptised member of one of these churches, then God will likely be prepared to engage with you big time. That is if you are open to it! Yes, God may be invisible, but my goodness he has the ability, when the time is right for him, to clearly demonstrate to each of us that he is indeed present in this world.
I again recommend reading the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” It could be a useful guide for your own evaluation.
Continue to the first article, “Miracle healing” in the following subsection, “Gifts of the Spirit”.
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